Southern living's Southerners of the Year 2017: JK McKnight

No one is more deserving of Southern Living’s “Southerners of the Year 2017” award than our captain! Congrats, John Kelly McKnight!

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JK McKnight

Forecastle Festival and Foundation
Louisville, KY

Fifteen years ago, JK McKnight put together a small neighborhood party with a handful of musicians. This summer, his Forecastle Festival drew over 60,000 fans from across the country to Louisville’s Waterfront Park. They came to see acts like Sturgill Simpson and Spoon (not to mention a tent devoted to the region’s bourbon makers). The festival contributed $20 million to the city’s local economy, but McKnight, a passionate environmentalist, also wanted the event to promote sustainability, with solar- and wind-powered stage lights and T-shirts made from recycled plastic bottles. Now, with an independent foundation attached to the festival, McKnight’s mission is to protect some of the most ecologically diverse landscapes—from the Green River watershed in Kentucky, to Marrecas, Brazil—for future generations, including his baby daughter, Maple.